bedroomA new initiative has been launched that aims to increase the supply of housing for people with learning disabilities by drawing on alternative sources of funding.

The initiative, Investing in Ordinary Lives: innovations in housing for people with learning disabilities, has been set up by learning disability housing charities the Housing and Support Alliance (H&SA) and the Cameron Trust and independent social care think-tank the Centre for Welfare Reform. It aims to encourage wealthy individuals, corporate investors and lenders and small landlords to invest in housing for people with learning disabilities.

Encourage investment into more housing
Investing in Ordinary Lives has launched with four briefing papers:
• How can wealthy individuals invest in housing for people with learning disabilities?
• Investing in housing for people with learning disabilities through corporate social responsibility
• How can small landlords invest in housing for people with learning disabilities?
• How corporate investors and lenders can invest in housing for people with learning disabilities?

Through these, the H&SA and Cameron Trust plans to encourage investment and broker the partnerships needed to create more housing. Over the coming months the organisations will:
• Promote Investing in Ordinary Lives nationally to investors and organisations
• Work with H&SA members to match people with learning disabilities who need housing to landlords
• Through the Cameron Trust, develop a web-based facility to match landlords to people with disabilities that will include tools for investors to make choices about the best avenues for investment and tools for people needing housing to make informed choices.

'More control over where they live'
Alicia Wood, chief executive of the H&SA, said: “We think people with learning disabilities should have more control over where they live and how they are supported. Traditionally local authorities, housing associations and charities have provided most housing for people with learning disabilities. Investing in Ordinary Lives recognises that both the range and type of housing needs to be significantly increased and proposes that privately provided and funded housing is a way of achieving this.

“With the reduction in funding for social housing and welfare benefit changes, housing options are becoming ever more restricted. Historically, the majority of private sector investment in accommodation for people with learning disabilities has been in residential care rather than in residential property to rent. Investing in Ordinary Lives sets out the options for private and corporate investors to invest in ethical and sustainable housing for people with learning disabilities.”

Increasing housing options for people with learning disabilities
Duncan Cameron, co-founder of moneysupermarket.com and founder of the Cameron Trust, added: “It’s all quite straightforward. There are people with learning disabilities who need to rent houses and there are investors and organisations who have the money to buy houses and rent to people. We want to find a way to match the right landlords and funders with the right people and organisations to increase housing options for people with learning disabilities.

“People with learning disabilities are usually great, long-term tenants and can give investors decent long term returns on their investments. Our focus is on keeping overheads and rents as low as possible and making sure that we help people to get the housing that is right for them.”
Investing in Ordinary Lives briefing papers are available here: www.housingandsupport.org.uk/investing-in-ordinary-lives